How To Motivate Your Co-Workers by Mark Wager

How To Motivate Your Co-Workers by Mark Wager

How To Motivate Your Co-Workers

By Mark Wager

I received an interesting email this week from someone who wanted advice on how to motivate people but this person wasn’t a Manager trying to motivate their team and they weren’t a Leader in the sense they wanted to motivate their co-workers. The individual who contacted me was working in a team and was frustrated that their co-workers weren’t trying as hard as they could and wanted to know what they could do to help them. I was so happy to receive this email because motivating a team is the responsibility of everyone within the team and not just the Manager so even if you are not the Boss you can still make a difference. In this weeks article I want to share with you some tips on how everyone with a team can contribute to a winning culture. 

Lead by example

People don’t copy the behaviours of their Leader, instead they are more likely to copy the behaviours of their co-workers, especially the ones that they either like or respect, so when people say that the Manager needs to lead  by example that’s completely true but it’s more true for any team member that wants to make a difference within their team. If you are good at your job and have a professional work ethic, you will be surprised just how influential you are. I remember a time when I was coaching a CEO who was new to his role. He wanted to implement a change to the organisation and he did what most Leaders do which was  presenting his ideas to the wider team. He was proud of his presentation. A lot of work went into it and he was pleased how the presentation went, yet over the next few days he started to hear discontent within the organisation. It seemed not many people where enthusiastic about his ideas. What happened was after the presentation finished and he left the room, many of the team members turned around to one of their colleagues who had been with the organisation a long time and asked his opinion to which he said “Ive heard it all before, it’s not going to work.” So you see even though the CEO had the job title and responsibilities he was still new and the team didn’t know him well yet they did knew their long serving colleague and they were more influenced by him. Never underestimate how influential you are, you may not chose to lead but if you are someone that others admire then you are a Leader whether you like it or not.

Speak up 

The good news about other people respecting you is that what you say matters because people pay attention to your words yet the downside is that your silence is just as important. If people act in a way that’s inappropriate or say something that you don’t like and you say nothing then people will see that as agreement, is that fair? No it’s not but it’s the truth, so if you want to make a difference to the team then you need to have the courage to speak up when it’s needed. This doesn’t mean you can discipline people, you are not the Boss but you will find that making people aware that you are displeased will make a difference. I remember hearing a story about when the All Blacks toured the United Kingdom, Dan Carter wasn’t picked for an upcoming game so he decided to go out for a few drinks with some other teammates who also weren’t picked. They decided to go to a nightclub in London, yet the problem was that they were based in Wales which is many miles away so obviously they arrived back at the team hotel much later than they had planned and well past the curfew the Coaches had set for them.  Dan Carter was understandably worried about what the coaches would say, he knew he was in trouble but what worried him more was what his team mates would say because he knew he let them down and he spoke about facing them being more difficult than seeing the Coaches. Never forget silence is agreement and change only occurs when people have the courage to speak up.

Celebrate success

When have you ever seen a sports team player score a goal or a try and then celebrate individually? It just doesn’t happen. Instead what you see is that the scorer surrounded by the teammates who join in the celebrations because they know that the work of any individual impacts the whole team. When one does well, the team does well. In sports the score is obvious, it’s clear on the scoreboard whether things are going well or going badly but in other businesses, success is not always so clear. What is the same is that you are one team and the best teams move together as one, they fail as one and they win as one. If you are part of a team and you want to motivate those around you then the best thing to do is to get people taking . When someone is not doing well then what can the team do to help them? If someone does  something great then the team needs to praise that individual. Too often I see teams in which someone who does well is frowned upon by the rest of the team because they think they are being made to look bad or a poor performer is ignored by everyone because they are so focused on what they are doing. A team is only as strong as it’s weakest member and one persons success is a reflection on the team so celebrate that success. Never underestimate the power of a kind word of thanks or encouragement. 

Help people reflect 

When our co-workers are unhappy or want to complain about something it’s human nature to either agree or remain silent allowing the co-worker to vent their frustrations and while this is completely understandable it doesn’t help build a culture of excellence. To best way to help the team and your co-worker is to help them reflect on what they are saying so instead of remaining quiet ask them “why do you think that?” “What has made you come to that conclusion?” “What are you going to do about it?” Its very easy for people to fall into a “helpless” mindset falsely believing that they are in a situation where they have no control of what is happening and therefore they blame others rather than take responsibility for their situation. Always remember that happiness is a choice, no matter what happens around you or no matter what people may say and do we all have responsibility for our own happiness.  Recently I spoke to two people with very different jobs, one a cleaner earning very little money and the second someone from the entertainment industry who earns a lot of money yet despite his more privileged position it was the cleaner that was happier in life not because of wealth but because he chose to focus on the good things in his life, help people understand that happiness is a choice.

Share your knowledge 

To motivate those around you a good start is to stop thinking about how you can make life easier for yourself and instead start thinking about how you can start making life easier for your team. If you are experienced and are good at your job then don’t keep that knowledge to yourself, share it with your team. If you have found an easier way to do something then make sure the rest of the team is aware of it. Research has shown that people who are highly skilled at a task have a tendency to underestimate the complexity of the task, because it’s easy for them they think it’s just as easy for everyone else. This is completely natural so if you are thinking you have no knowledge to share then you are most likely wrong. There is a reason why you are good at your job. Ask yourself what are you doing that others may not be doing, share your experiences of what works and also what doesn’t. Maybe someone can give you some advice that will benefit you. If you add value to the team then your own personal value will increase. Be there for people and they will be there for you.

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Posted: Wednesday 10 July 2024

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